Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dumpster Diving

Re: “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen discovers the dead body of Ron LaSalle inside his delivery truck. Ron delivered dairy products to Lake Eden residents and was always very prompt on his route. On the day Hannah found him, he was late getting to her bakery. Unfortunately he is holding one of her chocolate chip crunch cookies in his hand. The police tell Hannah her cookies were not the cause of death: Ron was shot.

After the police question Hannah, she can move on to the next item on her agenda: helping serve cookies and lemonade to the local Boy Scout troop. The meeting is held at the high school and Hannah has a chance to ask Edna, the school’s cook, about Ron. Edna says that Ron must have had an assistant since she always set out coffee for him in the morning, and this morning there were two used paper coffee cups. Edna surmises Ron’s new assistant is a woman since one of the cups has lipstick on it.

Hannah asked what Edna did with the coffee cups and she said she threw them out in the trash. Unfortunately the school janitor has emptied all the trash into the dumpster, which is due to be picked up in a couple of hours. Hannah thinks the cups would be good clues, so she tries in vain to reach the police detective assigned to the case so he can come out and retrieve the coffee cups. No luck there, so Hannah does the only thing left to an enterprising female-sleuth: she goes dumpster diving for the coffee cups. Of course she winds up with a mess on her clothes and shoes but feels it is worth it since she finds the cups.